British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “delighted” to be invited as the Republic Day chief guest at celebrations on January 26 in Delhi. Britain has also invited PM Narendra Modi to join the G7 summit next year. Johnson is only the second British leader to attend India’s Republic Day parade since its independence. In 1993, John Major had attended the event in the national capital.

“I am absolutely delighted to be visiting India next year at the start of an exciting year for Global Britain, and look forward to delivering the quantum leap in our bilateral relationship that Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and I have pledged to achieve,” Johnson said in a statement.

According to Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, Johnson’s visit to India “would be in a way symbolic of a new era, and a new phase of India-UK ties”.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced that India would be one of the three guest countries at the G7 summit in Britain next year. Raab is currently in India for a four-day visit.

“I’m pleased that PM Boris Johnson has invited PM Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year. The British PM has also accepted the very generous invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations in January, which is a great honour,” Raab said.

“The British PM will use his visit to India to boost cooperation in areas that matter to the UK and that will be priorities for our international engagement throughout 2021 – from trade and investment to defence and security, and health and climate change,” he added.

Jaishankar explained the relevance of Raab’s visit, saying: “The UK Foreign Secretary comes at a very important time because we are looking at a post-COVID world and also looking at a post-Brexit world from the perspective of the UK. This is the right time for us to hold discussions.”